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In a new study, University of Miami (UM) scientists found high concentrations of toxins linked to neurodegenerative diseases in the fins and muscles of 10 species of sharks. The research team suggests that restricting consumption of sharks can have positive health benefits for consumers and for shark conservation, since several of the sharks analyzed in the study are threatened with extinction due to overfishing.
Fins and muscle tissue samples were collected from 10 shark species found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for concentrations of two toxins—mercury and β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA). “Recent studies have linked BMAA to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),” said Deborah Mash, Professor of Neurology and senior author of the study.
Researchers at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and UM Miller School of Medicine detected concentrations of mercury and BMAA in the fins and muscles of all shark species at levels that may pose a threat to human health. While both mercury and BMAA by themselves pose a health risk, together they may also have synergistic toxic impacts.
“Since sharks are predators, living higher up in the food web, their tissues tend to accumulate and concentrate toxins, which may not only pose a threat to shark health, but also put human consumers of shark parts at a health risk,” said the study’s lead author Neil Hammerschlag, a research assistant professor at the UM Rosenstiel School and UM Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy.
Shark products including shark fins, cartilage and meat are widely consumed in Asia and globally in Asian communities, as a delicacy and as a source of traditional Chinese medicine. In addition, dietary supplements containing shark cartilage are consumed globally.
Recently scientists have found BMAA in shark fins and shark cartilage supplements. The neurotoxic methyl mercury has been known to bioaccumulate in sharks over their long lifespans.
About 16 percent of the world’s shark species are threatened with extinction. The shark species sampled in this study range in threat status from least concern (bonnethead shark) to endangered (great hammerhead) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“Our results suggest that humans who consume shark parts may be at a risk for developing neurological diseases.” said Mash.
“People should be aware and consider restricting consumption of shark parts. Limiting the consumption of shark parts will have positive health benefits for consumers and positive conservation outcomes for sharks, many of which are threatened with extinction due in part to the growing high demand for shark fin soup and, to a lesser extent, for shark meat and cartilage products.” said Hammerschlag.
6 cups water
2/3 cup short-grain brown rice
2/3 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup canned vegetable broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Makes 6 servings.
Pearl barley is so named because its heavy, unpalatable hulls and bran have been stripped away, leaving almost-spherical grains that are steamed and polished to a pearly sheen. Like the Arborio variety of rice traditionally used in risotto, pearl barley releases ample surface starch during cooking, resulting in a sauce whose creamy taste and texture belie how low in fat it is.
Despite the removal of its outer coating, barley is still an excellent source of dietary fiber, providing a generous 3 grams per 1/2-cup cooked serving.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Sports nutrition recommendations may undergo a significant shift after research from the University of Stirling has found individuals with more muscle mass do not need more protein after resistance exercise.
Health and exercise scientists from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence found no difference in the muscle growth response to protein after a full body workout between larger and smaller participants.
Kevin Tipton, Professor of Sport, Health and Exercise Science in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, said: “There is a widely-held assumption that larger athletes need more protein, with nutrition recommendations often given in direct relation to body mass.
“In our study, participants completed a bout of whole-body resistance exercise, where earlier studies – on which protein recommendations are based – examined the response to leg-only exercise. This difference suggests the amount of muscle worked in a single session has a bigger impact on the amount of protein needed afterwards, than the amount of muscle in the body.”
Experts also found participants’ muscles were able to grow and recover from exercise better after a higher dose of protein.
Consuming 40 grams of protein after exercise was more effective at stimulating muscle growth than 20 grams. This increase occurred irrespective of the size of the participants.
Professor Tipton continued: “Until now the consensus among leading sports nutritionists, including the American College of Sports Medicine and the British Nutrition Foundation, is that weightlifters do not need more than around 25 grams of protein after exercise to maximally stimulate the muscle’s ability to grow.
“In order for nutritionists to recommend the correct amount of protein we first need to consider specific demands of the workout, regardless of athletes’ size. This throws commonly held recommendations into question and suggests the amount of protein our muscles need after exercise may be dependent on the type of workout performed. These results are limited to younger, trained men so we may see different results with other groups, such as older individuals or females digesting different amounts of protein.”
Young, resistance-trained males were recruited for the study and divided into two groups, one with lower lean body mass of less than 65 kilograms and one with higher lean body mass of more than 70 kilograms.
Each volunteer participated in two trials where they consumed protein after resistance exercise. In one trial participants consumed 20 grams of whey protein and in the second, they consumed 40 grams of whey protein after exercise. Scientists measured the muscle’s ability to grow at an increased rate with metabolic tracers and muscle biopsies.
Source: University of Stirling